are the times that try men's souls." So began Thomas Paine's first
essay published on December 23, 1776 in The Crisis, a collection of
articles he wrote during the American Revolutionary War. How aptly those
eight immortal words describe today.
Commemorating an American Hero: The Marc Lee
May 23, 2009
believe that America's core founding values have never been so
challenged and tested, if not rejected and discarded by our elected
officials. Protocol unlearned, simply waiting to eat until one's
soldiers are eating, is not observed. Respect, placing one's hand on
one's heart as the National Anthem is played, is unnatural, even shunned
by some. The usual feeling of partisan political distain for the party
temporarily in power has been replaced with genuine fear for the
times of crisis the sustenance that supports our national soul comes
from the selfless acts of our soldiers and citizenry. Their examples are
like candles that light our way in the dark. They make us cry. They
cause us to mourn. They raise our spirit. They imbue us with hope.
Officer Second Class (SEAL) Marc Allen Lee is one of those true heroes.
His example of courage provides us with such inspiration and solace. He
was the first U.S. Navy SEAL killed in combat in Iraq. His home was Hood
2, 2006, he was one of the four members of SEAL Team THREE's Charlie
Platoon engaged in combat on a rooftop in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar
province in western Iraq. One of the team's members was seriously
wounded. Twice, Marc Lee stood erect, exposing himself to heavy enemy
fire as he delivered suppressing fire with his machine gun, allowing his
remaining teammates to extract their wounded brother. At that point most
of us would have called it a day. But then most of us are not U.S. Navy
element completed the casualty extraction, regrouped and returned onto
the battlefield to continue the fight. Petty Officer Lee and his SEAL
element maneuvered to assault an unidentified enemy position. He, his
teammates, Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks engaged enemy
positions with suppressive fire from an adjacent building to the north."
protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to
direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was
mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of
fire saved the lives of many of his teammates."
Navy SEAL Marc Lee's Silver Star Award Citation. He was also awarded a
Bronze Star with Combat "V" for Valor, and a Purple Heart, posthumously.
Lee's brother Kristofer wanted to give something to Marcís teammates
that would help them remember Marcís courage under fire, and something
they could carry with them into battle. Kristofer envisioned a
presentation knife made in his brother's memory with a percentage of the
profits from the sale of the knife going to a military wounded or fallen
support charity. The entire Lee family got behind the project. It was
then that Kristofer contacted an individual with a reputation in
military and law enforcement circles for getting things done, retired
Navy Chief Petty Officer Steven Bronson. Chief Bronson put heart and
soul into the project.
enlisted noted knife designer Eddie Killian to design the knife. Eddie
was given only one directive; Honor a Fallen SEAL! Eddie contributed his
time, expertise and all the costs involved in designing the prototype.
For him it truly was a matter of honoring a Navy SEAL who made the
Bronson on behalf of the Lee family next contacted Les De Asis and Greg
Mooney about producing the Killian designed knife. Les is the founder
and owner of the Benchmade Knife Company. Greg is Benchmadeís president.
Les was honored that his company had been asked to join the Lee's
project. He thought it especially appropriate that a local Oregon
company produce the knife memorializing and honoring an Oregon SEAL.
Benchmade got behind the Lee family project 110 percent, as have many of
Benchmade's dealers. As does Benchmade, they also contribute to the
Foundation a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the MARC LEE
"GLORY" KNIFE. Why "GLORY?"
In one of
his last letters home Marc wrote,
is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling
upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture
that one finds bestowed upon them."
better a name for a knife commemorating sacrifice and selflessness.
Deservedly, the project initiated to support a military wounded or
fallen support charity blossomed into the Marc Lee Foundation. A true
family foundation, the Officers and Directors are Debbie Lee, Marc's
mother, Kristofer Lee, Kristofer's wife Naomi, Maya, Marc's widow,
Marc's sister Cheryl Wells and Chief Steven Bronson. The foundation has
been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit
organization. Donations are tax deductible. It is hoped that the
foundation's website will be up and running by Memorial Day.
purpose of the Marc Lee Foundation is to commemorate the actions,
courage and dedication to our great Nation of Marc Lee and of the U.S.
Navy SEALs and in so doing ensure none of them are forgotten. To that
worthy goal the Marc Lee Foundation will join the Naval Special Warfare
Foundation Endowment Society and financially support the NSWF's work.
support the Marc Lee Foundation.
summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink
from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now,
deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." Ė Thomas Paine,